Nearly 40 years after Idaho killing, suspect found living under alias in Texas

Nearly 40 years after the main suspect in an Idaho killing went missing, police say that they’ve located him in central Texas.

Walter James Mason, who was found on Oct. 10 by the Eastland County Sheriff’s Office, was using the alias Walter James Allison, according to a news release from Idaho’s Custer County Sheriff’s Office.

Mason was a suspect in a 1980 killing at a Clayton-area bar, the news release said.

On Sept. 22, 1980, Custer County sheriff’s deputies and Fish and Game officers responded to calls from the Sport’s Club bar that two men had been shot. At the scene, officials found Daniel Mason Woolley dead in the parking lot from a gunshot wound to the head. Another man, who was not identified in the news release, suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder, and an unidentified woman had blunt force injuries to the face.

The Custer County Sheriff’s Office said Mason, who lived and worked nearby, was a suspect. Sheriff’s deputies, Fish and Game officers and even FBI agents tried to locate Mason, but he was never found.

It wasn’t immediately clear what led Texas authorities to Mason. According to the news release, his identity was confirmed through fingerprints when he was arrested in Eastland.

Several days after his arrest, Custer County Sheriff’s Deputy John Haugh and Sgt. Levi Maydole traveled to Texas to transport Mason to Idaho. He’s charged with first-degree murder.

Officials said Mason is being held at a secure facility outside of Custer County. He has entered a plea of not guilty.

Nicole Blanchard is the Idaho Statesman’s outdoors reporter. She grew up in Idaho, graduated from Idaho State University and Northwestern University and frequents the trails around Boise as much as she can.